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The Atlantic Slave Trade

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2 The Atlantic Slave Trade
Section 1 Slavery Becomes a System Section 2 The Middle Passage Section 3 Africans in the Americas

3 Section 1: Slavery Becomes a System
Main Idea Slavery, which had been practiced around the world for thousands of years, has a long history in Africa. Reading Focus What was slavery like in ancient times? How did the arrival of Europeans in Africa affect the slave trade? Why were Europeans eager for slaves from Africa?

4 Building Background Africa’s great wealth eventually attracted the attention of other civilizations around the world. Soon there was a growing demand for trade with the empires of gold-rich West Africa. Among the leaders of this new trade were Europeans, who found another valuable trade good in Africa—slaves.

5 The Institution of Slavery
Slavery’s Origins Practice did not start with Europeans; common since ancient times Slaves used for manual labor—physical work done by hand Slaves vital form of cheap labor; tended crops, built temples, worked on farms, in mines and on construction projects Other Functions Skilled workers—musicians, weavers, carpenters Muslim rulers trained slaves as professional soldiers In ancient Rome, educated slaves served as teachers Others featured in theaters and gladiator competitions

6 The Treatment of Slaves
Slaves considered property of owners in all societies; their treatment varied greatly In Africa children born to slaves kept with families In China owners were free to sell children of slaves, separating families Some cultures regulated treatment of slaves Laws protecting them from cruelty In ancient Athens, striking a slave was against the law Slavery not based on race Slaves from wide variety of backgrounds and cultures Most slaves captured in war; others sold as punishment for crimes Some born to slave parents or sold as payment of debt Considered as property of owner to be resold or given away


8 Manumission Freeing Slaves
In ancient times, not uncommon for slaves to be freed Act of manumission practiced around the world Freeing slave considered honorable act Examples Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, promotes idea of manumitting (freeing) slaves Slaves freed after years of dedicated service; Roman wills show slaves granted freedom upon owner’s death

9 Reading Check Draw Conclusions Why might many ancient societies have practiced slavery? Answer(s): To have a cheap source of manual labor; to humiliate enemies conquered in war

10 Africa and the Slave Trade
Slavery in Africa Institution existed for many centuries Practiced by small kingdoms and great empires Examples Kanem and Bornu in Central Africa raided nearby lands Egyptians and Nubians in North Africa looked to south for slaves Muslims First entered Africa in 600s Expanded African slave trade; captured or purchased Africans from local rulers Traded all over Muslim world Sign of Wealth Served as household servants, agricultural workers; crew members, pearl divers 18 million slaves exchanged from AD 650 to 1905

11 European Contact with Africa
Muslim merchants traded slaves throughout Asia and Africa, not Europe After collapse of Roman Empire (AD 476) Europeans isolated By 1100s countries of Europe ready to enter world trade again Period of great discovery during 1400s and 1500s Interest in trade and adventure led to exploration Reasons included adventure and fame spread of Christianity hope of wealth from trade Trade expeditions launched; lure of spices, jewels, and silks Africa was target for exploration

12 Great African kingdoms
Europeans heard stories of great wealth; tales of West African gold Mali’s legendary Mansa Musa European access blocked by strong Muslim kingdoms in North Africa By 1400s Portugal determined to find way to reach gold-rich Africa Prince Henry the Navigator Portugal took early lead from his efforts; Henry gathered Europe’s best sailors, astronomers, mapmakers Sent them off into Atlantic; convinced could get to Asia via Africa West African gold could finance future explorations Established trade in gold dust, salt; turned to valuable slave trade

13 Reading Check Recall Why were European explorers initially interested in Africa? Answer(s): To search for a sea route around Africa to Asia and to gain gold to finance future operations

14 Africans and Europeans Trade for Slaves
Portuguese soon learned great wealth to be found in selling African captives as slaves in European markets. With European settlement of the Americas in 1500s, demand for labor skyrocketed. Portuguese trade Among first in Europe to take part First large-scale shipment of slaves arrived in Portugal in 1444 Triggered increased interest Cheap labor Planters islands in Atlantic eager for cheap labor Wealthy Europeans sought slaves as domestic servants 50,000 African slaves in Europe by 1500 Methods changed No longer content to raid villages; turned to trade with local African rulers Horses, cloth, or grain for prisoners of war; established treaties with kings


16 Europeans Send Slaves to the Americas
Importation of slaves to Americas minor, but profitable enterprise 1400s no great European demand for cheap manual labor But Spain, Portugal, and others expanded into the Americas Demand for slave labor soared Christopher Columbus Voyages of 1492 set off wave of European colonization Explorers attracted to wealth of resources in “New World” Riches to be found in gold, silver; crops of sugarcane, tobacco Mines and plantations (huge farms) established Required enormous amount of labor Needed to collect and process raw materials Initially used Native Americans as forced labor

17 Resistance Native peoples Solution Atlantic slave trade
Growing resistance to enslavement Rapidly decreasing native populations Europeans forced to look elsewhere Solution Look to African slaves—unlike Native Americans, African slaves resistant to European diseases and could not successfully hide after escaping Familiar with farming methods; already worked as reliable laborers in Europe Atlantic slave trade 1502 first black slaves imported to the Caribbean Americas by Portuguese First in small numbers, but growing demand led to active trade System of slaves from Africa to the Americas known as Atlantic slave trade

18 Reading Check Explain Why did Europeans look to African slaves as a source of labor in the New World? Answer(s): African slaves were less likely to successfully escape; were immune to European diseases; were familiar with farming methods and had proven to be reliable laborers

19 Section 2: The Middle Passage
Main Idea African slaves were transported by the millions to the Americas. Reading Focus What role did the slave trade play in the triangular trade? What difficulties did captives face on the Middle Passage? What were some of the results of the slave trade?

20 Building Background The transatlantic slave trade was a key part of an active international trade between the Old World and the New World. Key to this trade system was the traffic of African slaves across the Atlantic Ocean—a tragic journey known as the Middle Passage.

21 Triangular Trade Spanish colonies Other European powers
Small numbers of African slaves to Americas in 1500s Spread of mines and plantations led to growing demand for slave labor Hispaniola and Cuba in the Caribbean; Portugal’s Brazil in South America Atlantic slave trade integral part of international trade system by end of 1500s Other European powers Portugal and Spain joined by England, France, and the Netherlands by mid-1600s Used slaves to work on plantations in Americas By mid-1700s British merchants dominated Atlantic slave trade Imported estimated 2.5 million slaves to Americas between 1701 and 1800

22 Traffic of Slaves Complex system Different routes
Trade complicated between Old World and New World Trade routes formed triangular pattern across Atlantic Triangular trade featured exchange of goods between Europe, Africa, and the Americas Different routes Europeans exchanged manufactured goods (guns and alcohol) for African slaves Slaves transported along Middle Passage to locations in the Americas Merchants traded slaves for raw materials (sugar, molasses, lumber) which were taken back to Europe


24 Reading Check Identify What was the triangular trade? Answer(s): A trade system in which goods and slaves were exchanged between Europe, Africa, and the Americas

25 The Journey to the Americas
Middle Passage Most profitable leg of triangular trade; slaves transported from Africa to the Americas Millions were captured and enslaved; sent to Americas Capture Search began on West African coast; majority of slaves shipped from there European slave traders did not capture slaves directly Trading posts Obtained slaves from local middlemen at coastal trading posts, who got slaves from local rulers in African interior Rulers received various goods Enslavement After exchange captives chained and marched to trading posts like Gorée Island and Elmina; there they waited to be chosen for shipment

26 Olaudah Equiano Needing good laborers, slave traders examined captives to find healthy men and women Strong, young men in high demand One African, Olaudah Equiano, sold into slavery at age eleven He later wrote about his capture and life as a slave Slavers After selection, branded and shackled captives transferred aboard slave ships, called slavers They faced the horrors of the Middle Passage


28 The Middle Passage Once aboard slave ships, African captives faced a frightening and difficult trip to the Americas. Voyage details Took three to six weeks to complete; in crowded conditions packed below ship’s deck More slaves transported meant more profit for ship captains Chained together, little room to move; unsanitary conditions Disease and malnutrition common; many did not survive Attempts to escape For some death preferable to slavery; jumped overboard or refused to eat Captives fought for freedom; many accounts of uprisings on slave ships Some successes, but most uprisings failed; slaves subdued and placed back in captivity

29 Reading Check Describe What were conditions like on the Middle Passage? Answer(s): Captives faced crowded, unsanitary conditions, with little food, exercise, or fresh air.

30 Effects of the Slave Trade
Impact on Africa Human cost great 10 million to 12 million Africans shipped to the Americas More died on forced marches, on board ships, or resisting African kingdoms Entire communities devastated Wars common among rival kingdoms to win captives Economically dependent on European goods Impact on the Americas Slaves played vital role in settlement of many areas, especially Brazil, the Caribbean Filled labor needs and helped strengthen colonial economies African diaspora Another result was spread of African culture and traditions Scattering of Africans called African diaspora Music, art, and religion spread


32 Reading Check Summarize How were African kingdoms affected by the Atlantic slave trade? Answer(s): Kingdoms were hurt by loss of their people, by warfare to capture slaves, and by economic dependence on European goods.

33 Section 3: Africans in the Americas
Main Idea After arriving in the New World, blacks made many contributions to the settlement of the Americas. Reading Focus What different jobs did African slaves perform in the New World? What role did Africans play in settling the Americas?

34 Building Background For slaves who survived the treacherous journey known as the Middle Passage, the difficulties were far from over. As they arrived in the New World, they were often sold to the highest bidder. Thousands of miles away from their homelands, they were forced to start new lives as slaves.

35 Slavery in the Americas
With no native labor force and hoping to take advantage of the rich natural resources of the Americas, Europeans needed slave labor. The Caribbean Primary destination with Spanish, English, and French colonies Huge plantations were set up for cash crops, agricultural products produced primarily for profit, to be sold in Europe Crops included tobacco, cotton, and some sugar cane In 1640s large-scale sugar industry introduced with dramatic changes Sugar plantations required huge labor supply for planting, harvesting, and processing; more and more slaves brought into islands From 6,000 slaves in 1640s, by 1682 number was 46,000 Final total of four million slaves brought to Caribbean

36 Caribbean slaves Most on plantations Great numbers, resistance
Demanding and dangerous work; 10 to 18 hours a day Overseers employed to manage and direct the work; relied on violence Other difficulties with exhaustion, disease, and lack of food, medical care Planters imported slaves in greater numbers from 1600s–1700s Great numbers, resistance Slaves outnumbered colonists on many islands Harsh laws implemented; punishments included whipping, burning, hanging Some resisted; maroons were runaway slaves that escaped to isolated areas in Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba Slave revolts usually failed, but 1791 revolt in Saint-Domingue caused end to slavery there


38 Mainland Latin America
Labor demand Other key destination for African slaves was Spanish and Portuguese colonies in mainland Latin America; received 45 percent of all slaves imported to Americas Need for slaves in Mexico, Peru, and Brazil to work mines, ranches, and plantations Brazil had sugar plantations in 1540s; gold discovered in 1690s African slaves worked variety of jobs on sugar, coffee, and cacao plantations; labored in Peruvian copper and silver mines; were cattle ranchers, loggers, and fishers In large urban districts worked as domestic workers, merchants, and skilled workers

39 Slavery laws Protection of slaves
In Mexico, Central and South America protective laws passed Spanish legal code granted right to marry; discouraged breaking up slave families Other protections Catholic Church encouraged owners to free their slaves Slaves free to learn reading and writing Could purchase freedom Difficult lives Despite laws, slaves often overworked and mistreated Many ran away Often hid in mountains and forests; developed Maroon communities Escaped slaves Established town near Veracruz in 1608 In 1630 established Republic of Palmares in Brazil; Maroon town lasted for 67 years

40 British North America Colonists in North America imported far fewer slaves. Historians estimate 600,000 or so of those transported went to North America. Group of 20 slaves sold in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 As Christians not lifelong slaves; earned freedom after number of years of service British colonies relied on indentured servants Worked in exchange for passage Black and white servants signed on as indentured servants Served as plantation labor, domestic servants, and skilled workers Demand for slaves was low as result of existing indenture system In 1640 only 150 slaves in Virginia Growing need for permanent labor force changed level of satisfaction with temporary labor gained from indenture system.


42 Dissatisfaction with indenture
Workers left jobs after period of service ended; employers had to find and train new workers; indentured servants ran away and were hard to find By late 1600s number of available European workers declined Shortage forced other labor supply; slaves were imported Increased number of slaves in North America Laws passed to regulate 1641 slavery legalized in Massachusetts; by 1700s slavery firmly established in all British colonies New laws established for slaves to serve for life, children enslaved too Legal codes set restrictions on slaves; could carry no weapons, could not travel without permission of owner Basis for American slavery began with these laws

43 Reading Check Contrast How did slavery in British North America differ from other regions? Answer(s): Far fewer slaves were imported; temporary labor was originally more common than slavery.

44 Africans Help Settle the Americas
In addition to providing vital labor, Africans explored and settled new territories and contributed to the region’s culture. Exploration No doubt of role of Africans in New World expeditions Black slaves came with Balboa in 1513; Cortés had African slaves as crew to Mexico in 1519 Black crew member planted and harvested first wheat crop in Americas Estevanico crossed southwest Conquest and Settlement West African slave Juan Valiente served as conquistador; awarded estate ands slaves of his own Du Sable, a Haitian native, founded permanent settlement in area of Chicago; free blacks helped settle Louisiana, Virginia, North Carolina 1600s slaves developed profitable rice crops in South Carolina


46 African Culture in the Americas
Africans played crucial role in development of American culture Slaves continued to practice their African traditions and customs Over time traditions blended with European and native culture to create unique culture of Americas Influence on music and food Brazilian capoeira, a blend of dance and martial arts, from Angolan slaves African musical instruments included the marimba, the banjo, and various types of drums African foods include New Orleans Creole, a blend of African, Caribbean, and European cooking Influence on religion and language Slaves blended African religious beliefs with Christian ones Mixed languages as shown in Haiti and Louisiana Great cultural diversity of Americas was the result

47 Reading Check Explain How did Africans help explore and settle the Americas? Answer(s): They took part in early expeditions and battles, helped explore unknown territories, settled permanent communities, and spread African culture

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